Replacing Filler Words

A man gives a speech at an office.

Photograph by Diva Plavalaguna on Pexels.

Why should we get rid of filler words?

Have you ever heard public speakers say um or ah during their speech? Those words um and ah are filler words. As an agent, you meet with clients, give presentations, and speak to customers over the phone. Listeners may become irritated if they hear you use these filler words and sounds too often. Certainly, you want to display confidence, credibility and give weight to what you say. Most significantly, you want your listeners to infer your words and ideas successfully. Replacing filler words can help you achieve those goals.

What are filler words? Nearly everyone says filler words in their everyday speech. It also occurs with professional speakers. Sometimes they are called discourse markers. We use them in speech when we try to complete a thought or sentence as our minds develop the correct words to use. When we say filler words, it prevents what we think is an awkward silence. The most common filler words, sounds, and phrases include umm, ah, yeah, like, well, right, so, you know, and or something.

Why do we use filler words?

Usually, we say them when we are nervous. If you give a presentation, prepare in advance, and practice your presentation to become more familiar and comfortable with your speech and topic. It’s okay to pause briefly instead of saying a filler word. Silence can often add impact to what you just said to your listeners. Pausing allows you to calm your nerves and collect your thoughts. Additionally, distractions can throw off speakers and cause them to use filler words. Perhaps a sneeze or cough occurs in the audience, or a fluttering bird or wind-swaying plant life catches your eye outside a nearby window. If you understand that these distractions may arise, you can somewhat prepare to avoid losing focus while speaking. We also say filler words when another person puts us on the spot and asks a question. This circumstance results in us thinking and speaking at the same time. So, we say um and like at the beginning of nearly every sentence. Preparation goes out the window, so remember pausing and thinking of a response exceeds saying filler words.

How else can we eliminate filler words?

The excessive use of filler words can become a crutch that may cause the listener to discredit or distrust the speaker. If you will be speaking publicly, record yourself rehearsing your speech. The recording can help you listen for when and how often you say filler words. You may determine why you utter them and can attempt to correct the problem.

There are multiple ways to curb your usage of filler words. Slowing down your talking pace can help you eliminate them. This strategy will naturally allow you to think about what you will say next. Furthermore, the audience will be able to absorb the content that you are presenting. Keeping your speech organized and structured can train you to know what is coming up next in your presentation and reduce the chance of saying filler words. You can also use speech transitions in place of filler words. You might say phrases: moving on to, on the other hand, let’s go back to.

If you found this article helpful, please read another beneficial article on travel tips.


We hope that this information on replacing filler words is useful to you.

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